Retail analyst Springboard forecasts UK footfall will increase by 5.4% over the Easter weekend (April 14–17).
The prediction comes with the announcement of March retail footfall results, which increased by 1.2% year on year, breaking six consecutive months of decline.
Springboard forecasts that the UK high street will see an 8.8% footfall increase over the four-day spring holiday.
Due to the timings of national pay day, mild weather and the trend for consumer spending focused on leisure and hospitality trips, it expects Easter 2017 to outperform last year’s footfall, which dropped 1.9%.
Springboard’s insights director Diane Wehrle said: “Mild spring weather is forecast for this Easter, which falls after the national pay day. This strongly indicates that more shoppers will visit retail destinations over the weekend compared with last year; on Good Friday last year – the one day of the weekend with good weather – footfall on high streets increased +16.4% compared to Good Friday 2015.”
Easter’s forecast is supported by March’s positive performance across all retail destinations. UK high street footfall increased 1.7%, retail parks increased by 1.4% and shopping centres saw marginal growth of 0.2%.
The trend for increased leisure and hospitality trips continues, as data shows footfall on high streets outside of retail trading hours was much stronger than working hours, indicating that retail is not the key driver of footfall.
“The key drivers of consumer spend, confidence and inflation, have worsened over Q1 2017 from Q1 last year, which is likely to be constraining shoppers’ willingness to spend on retail goods. This, together with the increasing importance of leisure and hospitality trips, is likely to bring about uplifts in spend in food and beverage outlets,” added Wehrle.
In contrast, Springboard forecasts shopping centres to see a rise of only 0.1%. Springboard argues that UK shopping centre’s weakened performance is due to its inflexibility as a retail destination to respond to shoppers’ fast-changing needs and lack of investment.
Historically, 25% of bricks and mortar sales over Easter are made in fashion retailers with only 10% being made among food and beverage outlets. However, this year Springboard forecasts sales in food and beverage to increase to 15% of the total, with a drop in sales in fashion to around 20%. This is due to more conservative consumer spending on retail goods and increased preference for spending on experiences.
Ecommerce data specialists, PCA Predict forecast online transactions will increase by an average of 17% over the three Easter trading days, with the greatest increase of 20% forecast for Easter Monday.
PCA Predict’s chief operating officer Chris Harle said: “This year, we are expecting to see online transactions via mobile reaching an estimated 49% over Easter weekend. This is a 10% increase on the same time last year as shoppers become more accustomed to shopping on their mobile devices.”